One of the three main squares of the city was built just after 1190 when the waters surrounding Mantua were regulated by engineer Alberto Pitentino. Here the imposing Palazzo del Podestà (the Mayor’s palace) divides the very heart of the city into two parts with its façade overlooking this square and its back overlooking Piazza delle Erbe. The palace is a testimony of the Commune Age. Mantua had been part of the feudal holdings of the Canossa family, but after the death of the Countess Matilde of Canossa (1115) the people of Mantua declared the city to be a free municipality. The Palazzo del Podestà was built in 1224 and underwent a series of changes down through the centuries. A Beautiful arch called Arengario links the palace to the Masseria once the Commune book-keeper’s house. From this square you can also see the Tower of the Cage. The entrance to the Palazzo del Podestà takes you under a passage called dei Lattonai with the typical Middle Age staircase leading up to the palace. This passage is still a vital way to the Piazza delle Erbe ( The Herbs Square).
Guided tours around Mantua